Medical evacuations in Greenland in 2018: a descriptive study

Helena Breum Pedersen, Bastian Breum Pedersen, Mark Biilmann, Malik Møller, Nicolai Lohse, Peter Vedsted, Søren Mikkelsen

1 Citation (Scopus)


Information regarding medical evacuations in Greenland is sparse. This study provides an overview of incidence, costs, and diagnoses leading to medical evacuations in Greenland in 2018. This is a retrospective, observational study. Patients with a valid Danish civil personal registration number were included. Data were obtained by scrutinising the itinerary of the Greenland travel coordination office and the medical records. 481 patients were identified. Forty-nine patients were excluded. 432 patients were analysed. Two-thirds of the evacuations were carried out within Greenland. The overall incidence of evacuations was 7.7 evacuations per 1,000 inhabitants per year. This differed, however, between the five different health regions. The cost of a medical evacuation ranged from less than 4,800 US dollars to more than 50,000 US dollars per case. Pregnancy and childbirth accounted for the majority of evacuations in women (31.2%) while diseases within the circulatory system and digestive tract accounted for the majority of evacuations in men (39.8%). The costs of medical evacuations may be reduced when combining evacuations of more than one patient. This indicates that combining evacuations of multiple patients from one health region by applying mandatory use of a central coordinating service may be beneficial.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2014634
JournalInternational Journal of Circumpolar Health
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)2014634
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Greenland medical evacuations
  • arctic evacuation
  • health care system in Greenland
  • interhospital transports


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